Best.Sandwich.Ever. These were the words that escaped from my wife’s lips as she
voraciously greedily happily consumed her Chicken Maximus. As much as we love driving into Austin to check out the latest and greatest eatery as well as the tried and true classics, sometimes we just want to stay close to home – less time on the road = more time doing something meaningful with each other. Unfortunately, aside from a handful of the typical chain restaurants, the eating scene in Round Rock is a little…underwhelming. Or maybe the eats are out there, and we just haven’t encountered them yet. Well, that’s all about to change. MJ and I are on a mission (wait…have I said that before?) – we’re scouring our town looking for the best that Round Rock has to offer. Hole in the wall? Why not? Attached to a gas station? Not a problem.
About 6 months ago, a new restaurant wandered onto the scene – The Blind Squirrel, a sandwich shop committed to striving for better…always. Located in an unassuming strip on one of the “major” streets in our town, Jack Raia (chef/owner) and his crew are creating unique fusion sandwiches made from the freshest locally-sourced ingredients when possible. And if that weren’t enough, they’re making things from scratch. Bread, sauces, stocks, soups, sides…all made in house. What about the meats, you ask? All seasoned, grilled, smoked, and roasted in the shop.
After reading about the Squirrel online, we headed out early, in our usual fashion, expecting a large crowd stretching out the door to be waiting for us. Thankfully there was not, and we were able to grab a nice table by the window and snap some shots of the interior. I personally liked the quirky hodgepodge of squirrel paraphernalia scattered throughout the restaurant. After studying the menu (12 sandwiches and a couple of specials) for a bit, we settled on our choices and anxiously awaited their arrival. I don’t know if these guys are originally from Texas, but they’ve clearly got the the concept of “Texas-sized” down. The sandwiches were HUGE!
On this particular day, I was starving. I knew I needed something substantial and meaty. Hmm…but as I think about it, I guess that’s everyday ;). I ordered The Godfather – grilled NY strip steak, sauteed crimini mushrooms & sweet onion in a garlic butter sauce topped with fresh mozzarella and roasted garlic aioli on ciabatta – with a side of house-made twisted chips. The ciabatta was spectacular! Light & chewy on the inside with a nice exterior crunch as you would expect from a panini. The steak was tender and tastefully enhanced by all the supporting components. The chips were thick cut and lightly seasoned with “Big Daddy Spice Mix.” I felt sorry for my wife, though, as the garlic lingered with me for the rest of the day. Sorry, Hun..
MJ was drawn to the Chicken Maximus – marinated 8oz chicken breast (grilled to order), topped with fresh tomato relish with roasted red pepper aioli & spring mix on flat bread. For her side, she chose the Asian-inspired cole slaw – shredded Napa cabbage, carrot, pickled ginger, rice wine vinegar & honey. Sounds like MJ, doesn’t it? Two bites into her sammie, and she knew that she was eating something special. The bread was soft and pillowy and the chicken was expertly grilled. She was especially fond of the tomato relish and its bright, vibrant capers. She loved the refined flavors in the dish and enjoyed the freshness it offered. With each bite, my wife had something new to rave about.
The Blind Squirrel has an incredible vision and a commendable view on food and cooking. I truly believe that they’ve got the formula for success and hope to see them at the forefront of a dining “revival”, if you will, here in Round Rock. We couldn’t help but sign up for their mailing list as we can’t wait to see what new treats will be coming out of their kitchen. It’s only a matter of time before the citizens of Round Rock AND Austin are lining up for a taste of the Squirrel’s nutty creations! Thank you, Jack and the crew at The Blind Squirrel for an unforgettable experience! You know we will be back.
And so we returned…
Tsunami Wrap: Chilled poached shrimp, sliced smoked salmon, wasabi cream spread, spring mix, sprouts, pickled ginger, & red onion topped with sriracha, unagi sauce, and wrapped in scallion pancake.
Pollo Porker: Fried tempura-battered chicken breast, pancetta, melted fontina cheese, fresh spinach, red onion & tomato, served on a grilled ciabatta with pesto aioli.